December 29, 2013 – Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
It makes such eminent sense that on the Sunday following Christmas we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The Holy Family stands as a model and an example to all Catholic families. All the readings for this day reflect the importance of family and the qualities needed to make the family both holy and successful. Although we celebrate feasts for each member of the Holy Family individually, this is the one which focuses on them as a unit, a family. Stewardship should be a key part of any family — that is, the understanding that the family is a gift to be cherished by all, and each member of the family, as a good steward, needs to play his or her part.
It is worth noting that today’s Gospel reading from Matthew is basically the conclusion of what is called the “infancy narrative” about Jesus’ birth and years as a boy. Matthew’s Chapter 1 is the genealogy of Jesus and His birth. Chapter 2 is the visit of the Magi, the flight to Egypt, and the return to Nazareth. Chapter 3 is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. The life of the family during Jesus’ growth years is left in large part to our conjecture.
Family life is at the foundation of our faith; in fact, it is at the nucleus of our Catholic/Christian society. The first reading from the Book of Sirach emphasizes the importance of family life and how each member is crucial to that life flourishing. Recall that Sirach was written in the second century before Christ’s birth but the family merits ascribed in this reading are as applicable today as they were then. Blessed indeed is the child who honors parents, grandparents, and elders. Sirach uses the word “kindness” as a quality needed by all members of a family, and this word is repeated by Paul in the second reading.
St. Paul has a way of laying out in a few words and phrases a way of life that we would all do well to emulate. The second reading from his letter to the Colossians is a classic example of this. In his first sentence Paul lays out five traits which always prove valuable in family relationships: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. He follows that directly by echoing Jesus’ words to us when Paul writes, “…over all these put on love.”
Stewardship is often referred to as living with an “attitude of gratitude.” Paul supports that concept with three phrases in his letter: “…be thankful”; “…with gratitude in your hearts to God”; and “…giving thanks to God.” That is, after all, what stewardship is all about — living life with gratitude and responding generously to God out of thanksgiving, not out of duty.
St. Matthew’s Gospel reading points to a quality included in the first reading from Sirach — humility. The humility of Jesus is contrasted with the arrogance of Herod. St. Joseph humbly accepts reality and flees with his family to Egypt. The Blessed Mother’s humility has been presented to us through Advent and Christmas. Today’s Gospel ends with the statement “He shall be called a Nazorean.” As insignificant as this may sound, we must remember that Nazareth is never mentioned in the Old Testament. It was a nondescript and unimportant place. In addition to identifying it as the home of the Holy Family, its most notable mention in the New Testament is in John 1:46: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
The family is one of the basic aspects of our stewardship lives. It is through love and humility and kindness that each of us, regardless of our family role, makes an attempt to follow the example of the Holy Family as we, like they, “bear with one another, and forgive one another.”
December 29, 2013 – Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” These words from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, today’s second reading, remind us that good stewardship means putting God at the center of our lives, filled with gratitude for the Lord’s many blessings.
Today’s readings encourage us to appreciate the importance of family life. They prompt us to never forget the essential attributes of being a good family member: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and most vital, love. Those, of course, are also the principal facets of stewardship.
As we have followed the birth of Christ and the establishment of the Holy Family over the past several weeks, we need to recognize the example set for us by that Holy Family — from the humility of our Blessed Mother in accepting God’s will to the love of St. Joseph in protecting his family at all costs to the incredible compassion and kindness of our Lord Jesus in giving His life to us and for us. Love is, as Paul reminds us, “the bond of perfection.” Like the Holy Family, we need to strive for holiness in all we are and all we do.
The idea of tithing is mentioned 39 times in the Old Testament and 11 times in the New Testament. Yet, often we hear Catholics complain that all their priest talks about is money. These Catholics don’t realize that the parish is not the priest’s parish, but their own parish.
This is where the change of approach in these people’s lives with regard to the stewardship way of life needs to develop. They need to know that the priest really is only an instrument to help guide them along the way and to bring God into their own lives.
I always stress we are given many gifts by God, but the most important gift is the Lord Jesus Christ. If Christ had not come among us, we could never get to heaven. Christ cares enough to teach us how to approach God Our Father. God left us the great sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, where by he joins His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity with our body and blood, soul and humanity in such an intimate way that we’ll never be closer to God.
When we are at the reception of Holy Communion, we can never thank Christ enough for coming among us. We can never thank God enough for sending Christ to us. This is the basis for the stewardship way of life. A thanksgiving.
How important it is that we thank Him for what he does for us. So whenever people say they want to make deals with God saying, “they will do this if only God will do that,” we have to remember that God already did all of those things for us. All we need to do is thank him. We can’t make deals in regard to Almighty God.
Editor’s note: The passing of our friend and longtime advisor Msgr. Thomas McGread in April 2013 was a tremendous loss to all who came to know him and work with him in developing stewardship as a way of life. But Msgr. McGread’s legacy will continue to live on through our work, through the Msgr. McGread Stewardship Conference in Wichita, Kan., and through this blog. We are fortunate to have in our archives many of his writings and teachings. The Catholic Steward will continue to share these with our followers as we continue to live Msgr. McGread’s vision for stewardship and evangelization in the Church.
December 22, 2013 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
“The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” (IS 7:14) With those prophetic words from Isaiah we are reminded that the coming of Christ is imminent. Many Catholics are familiar with the fact that Emmanuel means “God with us,” and that is exactly what is conveyed to us on this final Sunday of Advent.
Isaiah was writing some 700 years before the birth of Christ. In the Book of Isaiah Chapters 6 and following are designated the Emmanuel Prophecies. Just the key words in those chapters, including the first reading for this Fourth Sunday of Advent, trumpet our memories of Jesus Christ: House of David; Emmanuel; Prince of Peace; Wonder-Counselor; Lord of hosts. It is fitting on this last Sunday of Advent that the prophecy of Isaiah is proclaimed, as it will be repeated in today’s Gospel reading.
It sometimes seems in today’s world that Advent gets lost in the Christmas rush. Nevertheless, just as Advent has no meaning without Christmas, the true meaning of Christmas is diminished without Advent. For the past few weeks we have been preparing for the “coming.” The truth is that we have been preparing for three comings: the birth of Christ on Christmas; the second coming of Christ; and, the fact that the Lord comes to us at every Mass in the Eucharist.
Isaiah was called by God to be a prophet. “Calling” has deep meaning. It is worth noting that the original word from which “called” is drawn did not mean “invited.” It meant appointed. Each of us has been called (appointed) by God to carry out roles in building the Kingdom of God right now-today. Stewardship is seeking for what we have been called, and then carrying out that calling.
In the second reading, which is the opening of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, Paul identifies the same significance to being called. Paul identifies himself as a “slave of Christ.” We tend to attach negative feelings to that word “slave.” However, again in translation it is also written as “servant.” It merely is pointing out that each of us is called to serve God and those around us. Regardless what word we use to describe that service, a basic fact of stewardship is that all we are and all we possess come from God. Thus, we, too, should be servants of God.
Naturally it is the Gospel as usual which brings everything together. The Gospel of Matthew marks the beginning of the entire New Testament. Matthew 1: 1-17 is the genealogy of Jesus showing how He is descended from David (the House of David as included in our first reading from Isaiah). Saint Matthew then launches into an explanation of “The Birth of Jesus.” Much of this account in Matthew confirms the prophecies of the Messiah, but it is also important to note the stewardship of Joseph. Joseph goes through his own conversion as he learns about and accepts the reality of the God-man for whom he will be the stepfather.
After our Blessed Mother, it is St. Joseph to whom God reveals the reality of Jesus Christ. This revelation comes to us as we complete our Advent preparations. Two key words leap out to us in these readings — Emmanuel, “God is with us” and “Gospel,” as we are now called to reveal the Good News.
December 22, 2013 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
The Gospel from Matthew proclaims “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’.” St. Paul introduces himself to the Romans, to whom he is writing in the second reading as “Paul…called to be an apostle, and set apart for the Gospel of God.”
That essentially sums up what and where we need to be as we complete our Advent preparations on this Fourth Sunday of Advent with Christmas fast approaching. We, too, are called to be Apostles — the Greek roots of the word “apostle” meant messenger. Thus, there are two important clues for us as stewards as to what Advent and Christmas mean to us personally.
First, is the Good News (Gospel) that God is with us (Emmanuel). The second is that we are called to be messengers of that Good News among all peoples. Christmas is not just a time for us to celebrate the birth of Christ, but it is a time for us to be renewed and to accept our calling to be those messengers, those disciples.
There are often a lot of good feelings at Christmas, but the best is the joy produced by the understanding that God loves us. We join with shepherds and wise men and angels proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill to all people.”
December 15, 2013 – Third Sunday of Advent
We have previously explained that the word Advent finds its roots in the Latin word adventus which means “coming.” It is apt on this Third Sunday of Advent that John the Baptist asks a question in Matthew’s Gospel which is “Are you the one who is to come?”
Reviewing the three main readings for this Third Sunday of Advent, we might find various themes, all of which are readily applicable for Advent: spiritual healing in the reading from Isaiah; patience in the reading from James; and hearing and seeing the truth in Matthew’s Gospel.
The first reading from Isaiah paints a glorious picture, a heavenly image. The desert blooms; there is boundless joy; all exult and sing. It is the happiest of times. “Sorrow and mourning will flee.” The coming of the Lord is imminent, and we as the faithful are asked to focus on the joys and gladness of the moment. That is a feeling which is very well analogous to stewardship. It is said that people who embrace and pursue stewardship as a way of life focus on the good and the positive, not the negative. They can see beyond the present, outside this world to the Kingdom to come. Reference is made to healing those who suffer ailments, but the real healing has to do with the soul, with one’s spirit.
The letter from James speaks to us of “patience.” Most Reverend Robert Morneau, Diocese of Green Bay, often speaks of the haves and the have nots. To the Bishop all stewardship people are haves. That means they do indeed focus on what they have, not what they do not have. They have the kind of patience James speaks of in today’s second reading. There is no question we live in an impatient society. Nothing is fast enough; in fact nothing seems to be enough. A farmer understands that if the crops are harvested too early, they are worthless. One must wait for the tree to bear fruit, for the crops to ripen and mature, before picking them.
People in today’s world do not like to wait. Yet, that is what we as Catholics and Christians, and as good stewards must do. It is especially noteworthy in this Advent season, when we wait and expect the “coming.” James refers to community and to embracing one another; this is part of the virtue of patience. Now, Advent, is a time for us to put aside our anxiety and anger and sense of injury, and to reach out to one another, to love as Jesus called us to.
Two strong themes leap out from the Gospel of Matthew. As stated, the question rises, “Are you the one…” The Lord replies “tell…what you hear and see.” This repeats what we have learned through this Advent — that is, we must be alert and we must be willing to look at things in a new and refreshing way. This is our stewardship struggle on a daily basis, to renew our lives and to embrace again and again the love of Jesus and to share it with one another. Advent is one of the best times to do that. It is also good to remember as Advent reaches toward Christmas that nothing humans have to sell is as good as what God has already given.
December 15, 2013 – Third Sunday of Advent
Advent, as we have learned in the readings for the previous two weeks, is a time to awaken and a time to change. Referenced in today’s first reading from Isaiah, it is no time for “feeble” hands or “weak” knees or “frightened” hearts. “Be strong; fear not.”
This is a time when we are strengthened by our faith. When Isaiah speaks of the blind seeing and the deaf hearing and the mute singing, he is talking about us. It is very easy during this busy season to get caught up in all the things that do not focus us on the coming of the Lord. If we truly embrace stewardship, however, we plan our days and we set aside time each day to pray and to concentrate on the coming of Jesus — both in the sense of His impending birth and the idea of His second and final coming.
Jesus reflects this imminent turnaround in the Gospel of Matthew, proclaiming “the blind regain their sight… the deaf hear… the lame walk.” He tells us to “hear and see.” Later in the Book of Matthew we are told “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” It is the Third Sunday of Advent and it is time to strengthen our faith and to lift our spirits. During Advent a few years ago, the Holy Father Benedict opened an audience by praying, “Come Jesus; give strength to the light and to the good.” Now is the time.
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving next week, I am reminded of the time one of my children said with great pride and perception: “Thanksgiving is a stewardship holiday.” I did not deflate her sense of awareness by saying anything to the contrary (a weakness of mine), but merely agreed with her.
Nevertheless, the words thanksgiving and stewardship and holiday began to run through my mind inter-connectedly, and I thought to myself not only do many people not recognize the strong connection between stewardship and gratitude, they may only practice stewardship at Thanksgiving and the Advent and Christmas season which follows.
In a sense, stewardship never takes a holiday. If we truly aspire to be good stewards it is something we should be living and pursuing constantly. The late Msgr. Thomas McGread stated more than once that “Every day is a challenge when it comes to stewardship.” His point was that we live in a world which does not lend itself to gratitude and giving. The faithful steward must undergo ongoing conversion, and make an effort each and every day to appreciate God’s gifts, nurture them, and share them willingly and generously.
December 8, 2013 – Second Sunday of Advent
“The one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals.” (Matthew 3:11) With these prophetic words John the Baptist announces the coming of Jesus Christ. In fact, immediately after that statement Jesus comes to John to be baptized, and His earthly ministry begins.
It is fitting on this Second Sunday of Advent that the readings proclaim the coming of Jesus, as we prepare for that coming every day and every week. The first reading from Isaiah contains the prophecy of this new king, descended from David. It also alerts us to what is to follow directly in Isaiah—a detailed list of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Those gifts could be considered a check list for both stewardship lives and for Advent as well: wisdom; understanding; counsel; courage; knowledge, piety; and fear of the Lord. The reading from Isaiah opens with the phrases “a shoot will sprout” and “a bud will blossom.” That not only refers to the coming Messiah, but it also reminds us that Advent is a time for new life, a new way of looking at things.
In his letter to the Romans St. Paul prompts us to remember the prophecy related in the first reading. In addition, Paul calls us to be reconciled with the Lord and with one another … “think in harmony with one another.” Is there a better time than now to reconcile with those with whom relationships might be strained? It is often said that stewardship is a form of love. Now is the time to show that love for others, even those that might be a challenge for us. Now is the time to reach out and renew our relationships. Mother Teresa may have said it best: “Love begins by taking care of the closest ones — the ones at home.”
Matthew’s Gospel is powerful and clear. John the Baptist begins his message by calling out “Repent.” We may read this as an order to rid ourselves of sin, but it is much more than that. Entire treatises have been written about this word “repent.” Based upon the Greek word metanoia it has a deeper meaning than just “repent.” It might be better translated as “Change your life.” It is the first word we hear from John the Baptist. Interestingly, when Jesus begins His ministry (Matthew 4:17) He, too, begins by saying “Reform your lives.”
To be good stewards requires us to look at life differently, to in effect change our lives. Advent is the perfect time to begin that journey if we have not already. Even if we have begun to live lives of stewardship each day provides a new challenge and a fresh conversion. We are called by Christ to have hearts which produce fruit but that cannot happen unless we are constantly ready for the necessary change, the reforms, the repentance. Also, like John the Baptist, we must approach the Lord and all others with humility (“I am not worthy to carry His sandals.”). We are approaching that wonderful “coming,” that birth and we must remember how humble it was — born in a crude stable, in a manger (an animal food trough), among shepherds. Advent is a good time for us to discern whether we follow God because we want Him to love us or do we follow Him because we already know He loves us.
December 1, 2013 – First Sunday of Advent
“Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12) The readings for this First Sunday of Advent, as we prime ourselves for the coming of Christ, point to the light of Christ. In fact, as suggested in the first reading from Isaiah, “Let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
Of course, to truly see the light, we must open our eyes, thus the clarion call throughout the readings to “Awake!” This may be the “busiest time of the year” but it is also time for us to act on our faith lives and be good stewards of all we are and all we have.
There are many readings during this season from the prophetic Book of Isaiah. Isaiah, the son of Amoz, did not just hear the Word, he “saw” it. On this First Sunday of Advent we are called to “see”; we are called to a new way of looking at the world. We are to walk in the light of the Lord now, not gradually, not in a few weeks, but right now.
In his letter to the Romans St. Paul echoes the urgency and the call reflected by Isaiah. Paul reminds us that we “know what time it is.” We should understand that it is time for us to change and conduct ourselves “properly as in the day.” The night is over and this is no time to rest. There is a compelling need for us to concentrate, in spite of the seasonal business which is all around us, on the light of Christ. It is not just that He is coming (Advent is rooted in the Latin word adventus which means “coming.”) The Lord is not just coming; He is here.
We can hear the sense of immediacy in Jesus’ voice as it is recorded in the Gospel, Matthew 24: 37-44. He says outright and abruptly, “Stay awake!” Today’s Gospel closes with Jesus telling us “You… must be prepared for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” During our Advent “expectations” it is well for us to remember that the term “Son of Man” occurs 107 times in the Old Testament and 81 times in the four Gospels. In the New Testament almost every time it is used is when the Lord refers to Himself as the Son of Man.
We know He is the Son of God, but He also wants us to discern that He is the Son of Humankind. In fact the original Greek word anthropos, which has been translated as “Son of Man,” is a singular word, and it is, according to a number of scholars, better translated as “the son of the human being.”
Jesus is coming as one of us. Yes, He is also the Son of God, but more essential is that He is to be born of Mary, a human just as we are. Stewardship calls us to wake up, be ready (not “get ready”), to put on the light of Christ, and to carry out our stewardship in action, not just preparation. It is Advent; He is coming, and the time to change is now. “Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
To better serve our loyal followers at parishes facing early holiday bulletin print deadlines for Thanksgiving and Christmas, The Catholic Steward has posted the next two weeks of our Stewardship Bulletin Reflections today (Nov. 19), and will post the next two Stewardship Reflections on Lectionary Readings tomorrow (Nov. 20).
The bulletin reflections for the weeks of December 1, 2013, and December 8, 2013 (First and Second Sundays of Advent Reflections) are posted separately below on our home page. Check back tomorrow for the full Stewardship Reflections for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8.
We will continue posting our weekly reflections on this schedule, which means you will be receiving the bulletin and lectionary reflections an extra week ahead of our regular posting schedule. This not only should allow most parishes to handle early bulletin deadlines for Thanksgiving week, but should also accommodate your early bulletin deadlines for the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s Day.
If you subscribe to our email delivery service, links to the Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 reflections will be included in today’s email.
December 8, 2013 – Second Sunday of Advent
There is a reason that John the Baptist appears in our Gospel reading for this Second Sunday in Advent calling out, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We might conclude, and not entirely in error, that the reference point is the imminent birth of Christ, the ultimate conclusion of Advent.
However, the meaning of this is much deeper and broader, something which needs to strike a chord in our hearts and in our lives of stewardship. Often we make reference to the fact that stewardship requires conversion. There are actually two accepted translations of μετανοέω/metanoeō, the original Greek word construed as “repent” which begins John the Baptist’s admonition. One is “repent” which is always good advice to us.
The other is “change.” Last week Jesus told us to wake up. This week John the Baptist is telling us to change. Advent is the time for us to come alive, but it is not just an occasion for action. It should also motivate us to alter the way we approach living — to seek ways to live out stewardship in service, in love, and in gratitude.
But, yes, it is a time to be penitent as well. It is a time to repent in the original sense of that word. St. John Chrysostom wrote eloquently on how to repent. He gave us five paths (terms) to lead us to repent: 1. Confession; 2. Forgiveness; 3. Prayer; 4. Almsgiving; 5. Humility. That is good advice for Advent.
December 1, 2013 – First Sunday of Advent
“The day is at hand.” (Romans 13:12) “Let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2:5) These two quotes — the first from Paul’s letter, our second reading, and the second from the prophetic Book of Isaiah (our first reading) — alert us to the fact that this season of Advent is more than just a time to get ready. It is a time to act.
Stewardship is an action word; it is an action concept. It is a reminder that the Lord did not call us to be just a follower; He called us to be a disciple. That means doing things, and this sacred season is a great time to begin doing, or to expand what we are doing, or to improve what we are doing.
The Latin word adventus from which we get the word Advent means “coming.” But who is coming? Of course, we all know the answer to that — Jesus, because we celebrate His birth in just a few short weeks. The Lord reminds us in today’s Gospel that it is not just Christmas we are talking about: “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” When are we to awaken? Now! Why are we to awaken? Because it is time to be spiritually alive and spiritually aware. How do we put our spiritual lives in order? We are to “put on the armor of light.” Jesus is coming, and we must be prepared.
November 24, 2013 — Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Traditionally, the Solemnity which we celebrate this weekend was called Christ the King, but it is officially the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. It was originally established by Pope Pius XI in 1925, and he placed it on the last Sunday in October, just prior to the Feast of All Saints. In 1969 Pope Paul VI moved the Feast to the last Sunday in Ordinary Time and retitled it from Our Lord Jesus Christ the King to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The reasoning was that recognizing Christ as the King is most appropriate as we begin Advent the following weekend.
It is natural, therefore, that all the readings for this week highlight kingship with Jesus as the central and uniting element. The first reading from 2 Samuel (recall that 1st and 2nd Samuel joins with 1st and 2nd Kings as a theological history of the Israelites) deals with the kingship of David. His anointing as King united the people of Israel under one ruler. It also contributed to the progression of the Jewish people as reflected in Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been called Jebus until this time, and then became Jerusalem, then the City of David; the Ark of the Covenant was brought to the city, and Solomon built the Temple to house it.
David himself represents a progression (similar to our progression through stewardship) from humility to service to faith to salvation. David’s kingship is analogous to Christ the King which we celebrate today.
The second reading from Second Colossians literally ties the first reading to the Gospel from Luke. St. Paul points to Jesus as the Head of the Body, the Church (the Church is His Body), the King if you will. This association points to the Lord as having been always and ever. From a stewardship perspective we must embrace, as complex as it may seem, this concept of the triune God, Who is, was, and ever shall be. Paul points clearly to the fact that God created everything, leading us to the understanding through stewardship that everything we are, everything we have comes from God. No fewer than five times does Paul use the phrase “all things” in this reading. Since God created all, we are extensions of the living Christ, and we are expected to live that out through stewardship.
Luke’s Gospel points to Jesus as not only the King Who rules over all people, but also to the King Who rules over death. As His Crucifixion is related in Luke 23 note that Christ’s first act on the Cross is to forgive: “Father, forgive them.” The two thieves crucified next to Jesus represent the two ways we can relate to the Cross — we can reject it and be unchanged; or, we can recognize it and be converted.
The key to living a life of stewardship is through conversion. The repentant thief merely says humbly to Jesus “Lord, remember me,” knowing that the Lord will take care of the rest. We, too, need to humbly turn to God and submit our lives to Him, trusting and knowing that He will provide, so that we, too, may hear Him say to us, “Amen, I say to you; today you will be with me in Paradise.”
November 24, 2013 — Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
“Amen, I say to you; today you will be with me in Paradise.” Are those not the words we all aspire to hear? Jesus reminds us throughout Holy Scripture that we must keep our stewardship focus on two points: Jesus Himself, and the fact that our lives lead to Eternity. It is these thrusts that should allow us to live existences of stewardship.
This Sunday is traditionally called Christ the King. Yes, we recognize Jesus’ Kingship over all the earth and all its peoples, but the Gospel points to the part of His dominion that cannot be matched by anyone else: He rules over death as well as over life. St. Catherine of Siena once said, “All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, ‘I am the way’.”
As we prepare for Advent, which begins next weekend, and as we end our liturgical year this week, we need to dedicate ourselves anew to being good stewards — to realizing that we are children of God, that Christ is our King, that we are gifted, and that we are called to share those gifts. We also need to join with the forgiven thief who was crucified next to Jesus and place our total trust in God. While we attempt to be disciples of the Lord, all we must utter is “Thank you, God” and “Lord, remember me.”